Cowes (kouz) [key], town (1991 pop. 16,134), Isle of Wight, S England. A resort town with lovely promenades, it is also the main port of the island and the center for yachting in the British Isles. Cowes became the headquarters of the Royal Yacht Club in 1838, and fashionable regattas are held annually. Industries include shipbuilding and aircraft works. Queen Victoria died in Osborne House in East Cowes.